Oh My Spaghetti Monster!!!

Volkwagen International is investing USD 6 Billion in DC Fast Chargers across North America, directed by Dr. Herbert Diess, CEO of Volkwagen AG . Perhaps because he saw America as a “polarized playground” between Science and climate-change deniers.

No one in America was doing the obvious.

No one in America had the balls to do the right thing and provide DC Fast Charging as fast as fueling your vehicle with gas or diesel.

Dr. Herbert Diess says himself, “I am convinced that if we concentrate all our energies on the leading technology of electromobility, we will achieve both: the car will become cleaner in the short term and CO2-free in the long term. And the car country Germany will be the world leader in driving the future.”

Perhaps the reason Herbert Diess is smiling.

The very first time I charged my EV at an Electrify America 350 KW charger, I was half-charged.  It took only 5 minutes to give me an 83% charge for an introductory $1.00 !!!

Sunday, March 24, 2019, 8:30 am
Herbert Diess and Jeff Bezos on LinkedIn:
A selfie with the Frenemie 2.0

The VW Group CEO posted on the social network LinkedIn a photo with Amazon founder Jeff Bezos. Why?
By Christof Rührmair

LinkedIn-Post of VW CEO Herbert Diess.

Whether Herbert Diess is a fan of the mafia epic “The Godfather”, we do not know. But he seems to take heed to a wisdom from Don Corleone: “Keep your friends close to you, but closer to your enemies.” Pretty much closer than the recent selfie released by Diess that shows him along with Amazon founder Jeff Bezos it hardly.

VW-CEO Herbert Diess: “Motion is my main passion.”

When VW CEO Herbert Diess gets out of his car at TUM Campus Garching he immediately feels taken back to his time as a student of mechanical engineering: “This is exactly how we used to sit there and studied”, he remembers when seeing the students with their books in front of the Institute for Machine Tools and Industrial Management. Just a few weeks ago the engineer has been appointed the new Chief Executive Officer of the Volkswagen AG…

KontakTUM: Dr. Diess, where does your passion for cars come from?

As long as I can remember I have been fascinated by cars and motorcycles. It all started in kindergarden with a small box of Matchbox cars. These were such little toy cars on a 1:43 scale. In addition to that my grandparents had a farm where I got to drive tractors and motorcycles before I even had a driving license. Motion has always been my main passion. Accordingly my career has fulfilled many of my dreams.

Aren’t cars a discontinued model – especially in main cities and for young people?

There are people who see it like that but I don’t share this view. Mobility is simply a lot more that moving from one spot to another. The experience of driving a beautiful car exceeds mere transportation.

How are we going to move in the future?

Mobility demands worldwide are rising: people have more leisure time and accordingly move around more, families travel a lot more than before. In the years to come, cars are going to lose many of the disadvantages they have today. The electric drive is right around the corner, which will lead to much more sustainable driving. Automated driving will make sure that we are safer when moving around. The position of cars will be stronger in the future, not weaker.

You think that automated driving is going to come?

Yes, of course, it is really only a matter of when we dare to.

What technology is required for that?

I think it’s not enough for the car to be as safe as a driver. It is also not enough if it is ten times safer than a driver. It probably has to be rather 1.000 or 10.000 times safer than a human driver. In terms of technology that is feasible. The possibilities, which will open up in the next years are tremendous.

You started to study Automotive Engineering at the University of Applied Science and came to TUM to study Mechanical Engineering afterwards.

Many good memories are connected to that. There were professors who taught us a lot, also emotionally. For that time, the iwb, the Institute for Machine Tools and Industrial Management was already very practice-oriented and geared towards the industry. We had possibilities to work with companies from the industry, such as BMW, Audi or Daimler. An amazing chance to also get a feeling for what the working world is like. On top of that I have formed friendships, of which some are still holding strong today. For that I am grateful. After my diploma I helped out in a classmate’s family business in Algeria for almost a year. That was an interesting time. But I also liked coming back to TUM for my doctorate.

Then you became research assistant at the renowned iwb.

That was a very nice time. The challenges of really diving deep into a topic – over three, four or more years do have a maturing effect. And the university’s reputation was good, too: saying you studied at TUM was always received well. But of course the location also offers a lot of distractions.

What do you mean?

I have always liked doing sports and for example was involved in the academic sailing club. And then of course, in Munich the mountains and the amazing range of offers by the Central University Sports are constantly beckoning.

Have you ever thought about staying in research after your doctorate?

Yes. Back then I had published a lot and we applied for many research projects, which led to a corresponding collaborative research centre here in Munich. I enjoyed that a lot. I filled in at lectures and worked with the students. That’s why I definitively would have liked an academic career as well. But in the end I decided for the industry, not least because here, you get to influence things a tad more.

You have made an impressive career in the industry: straight after your doctorate you joined Bosch in Stuttgart, from 1996 onwards you worked for BMW in various management positions in Germany and abroad and then from 2007 until 2014 as a member of the Executive Board. Juli 2015 brought the change: since then you are heading the Volkswagen brand.

It intrigued me a lot to take responsibility at Volkswagen. The company had fallen slightly behind in 2015, the sales numbers dropped and the impact of the brand had been lost a bit. I really wanted to bring new momentum and prepare Volkswagen for the great changes of our industry.

Then your task got even more exciting than expected: three months after you took on the job at VW, it became known that Volkswagen had used a defeat device in its diesel vehicles’ engine control, which allowed for the circumvention of US-american emission standards. Suddenly you were a crisis manager. What are your qualifications for that?

My versatility: in the course of my career I worked in many different industrial areas, initially a lot in production and then in strategic departments. When BMW bought Rover, I was for example deeply involved in the reorganization process. Later on I was responsible for the worldwide motorcycle business of BMW. A very nice job. From 2007 on I managed the board division Development at BMW. The different experiences with the various technical issues helped me a lot to be able to carry such overall responsibility.

The responsibility that is on your shoulders hasn’t diminished: just a few weeks ago you have been appointed the new Chief Executive Officer of the Volkswagen group. How do you prepare for the tasks that lie ahead of you?

That is a fluent transition. After all I had the opportunity to get familiar with the company for almost three years. And I can take on the new responsibility on the foundation of a successful business development. The main thing is the corporation’s further development. My predecessor Matthias Müller has started the redevelopment in 2015 with the right steps. The corporate strategy is coherent. Now it is about following this course and picking up the pace even more.

What is your future vision for VW? Are you a revolutionary?

I don’t like using catchphrases that much to describe a differentiated development. Right now, for Volkswagen it is about evolution, not revolution. In a time of profound transformations in the automotive industry we want to take the right strategic step and make our mark in the areas of electro mobility, digitalization and new mobility services. Our aim is to make Volkswagen, as one of the leading companies of our industry, a key player in the future of individual mobility.

Have you passed on your engineering gene to your children? After all, all three of them are study in this field, your youngest daughter even here at TUM.

I wouldn’t call it a gene (laughs). But my children have seen their father enjoy his work, being able to achieve a lot and travel the world. Maybe that has encouraged them to take a similar path.

Enjoying the work – is that part of your winning formula?

Passion for the product is important. You have to love what you do. To me my profession is a godsend because I am a passionate motorist, motorcyclist and car maker. This also gives me the motivation to cope with a big work load.

Your every-day life is probably still very exhausting: how do you find a balance.

So far I have always managed to get enough exercise and also distance. I enjoy the mountains: skiing in winter, some hiking in summer or occasionally climbing and some alpine tours. Also, I like sailing. I have a high need to move and here I usually also am able to recuperate. In recent years I took up kitesurfing and paragliding. I simply am and will be a fan of motion.


Dr. Herbert Diess

(Diploma Mechanical Engineering 1983, PhD 1987)

Herbert Diess studied Automotive Engineering at the University of Applied Science in Munich before changing to TUM in 1978 and earning his diploma in Mechanical Engineering in 1983. After finishing his degree he worked for almost one year in the industry before returning to the Institute for Machine Tools and Industrial Management (iwb) of TUM as a research assistant and doctorate student. Having finished his doctorate in 1987 he worked for Bosch in Stuttgart and for Treto in Spain before joining BMW AG in 1996. Here he held various management positions in Germany and abroad and also became a Board of Management member, where he intensely promoted the development of the electric car, amongst other things. In June 2015 he joined Volkswagen to head the Volkswagen brand. Mid April 2018 Herbert Diess was appointed the new Chief Executive Officer of VW. He is married and has three adult children.


Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s